Although President Trump’s request for additional billions to build the border wall is getting top billing in stories about the administration’s proposed budget for 2020, another proposal is going to make Democrats almost as angry: work requirements for welfare recipients.
Meanwhile, the budget aims to implement new welfare requirements — namely, that Americans 18-65 years old work at least 20 hours a week in a job, a job training program or a community service program to secure a range of benefits and aid.
According to the administration, the work requirement would apply to federal programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and federal housing, but would come with a hardship exemption. Last year, the administration opened the door for states to impose work requirements for Medicaid recipients. This part of the budget proposal would bring those work requirements to the federal level.
First note: there is a hardship exemption.
Ailing welfare recipients are not going to be forced to work.
Still, this proposal will be regarded as mean-spirited.
The liberal left tends to regard work for welfare as cruel and inhuman treatment of vulnwerable people, but it is instead an intensely moral policy.
As Peter Cove pointed out in a groundbreaking article headlined “There Is No Substitute for Work” in the City Journal, work gives us dignity and helps us learn to be independent.
Anti-poverty programs, Cove argued, “should foster autonomy, not perpetuate dependence.”
Indeed if it doesn’t do these two things it is not an anti-poverty program–it is rather a program to sustain, marginally, people in poverty.
I want to call attention to something else in the budgt that Democrats will hate but that are also intensely moral: the proposed budget would cut the Education Department’s budget by 12 percent, while at the same time creating a $50 billion school choice program.
The ability of parents to send their children to the schools of their choice, often escaping dangerous environments for a better learning atmosphere, is truly the best anti-poverty program there is.